News Item

Gatwick improves passenger navigation

The airport has installed a system to make it easier for passengers to find their way around.

In what is announced as a world first, around 2000 beacons have been installed across Gatwick Airport’s 2 terminals, providing an indoor navigation system that is claimed to be more reliable than GPS and enables augmented reality (AR) wayfinding for passengers.

The Airport explains that the lack of satellite signals under cover makes road-based navigation systems such as Google or Apple maps unreliable indoors, so it has deployed the beacon-based positioning system to enable reliable ‘blue dot’ on indoor maps - which in the future could be used within a range of mobile airport, airline or third-party apps.

The beacon system also enables an AR wayfinding tool - so passengers can be shown directions in the camera view of their mobile device - making it easier for them to locate the likes of check-in areas, departure gates and baggage belts.

The new technology is currently being integrated into some of the Gatwick apps and the airport is also in discussion with airlines to enable the tools to feature on their app services as well.

Although no personal data will be collected by Gatwick, generic information on ‘people densities’ in different zones may help to improve airport operations, including measuring queues, streamlining passenger flows and reducing congestion. Airlines could go further and, with the consent of passengers, send reminders on their app to late-running passengers - or find out where they are and make an informed decision on whether to wait or offload their luggage. And retailers and other third parties may also use the system to detect proximity and send relevant offers or promotional messages, if the passenger has chosen to receive them.

Battery-powered beacons kept logistical complexity and costs low, with deployment taking just 3 weeks, followed by 2 months of testing and calibration.

The end-to-end 'indoor blue dot' service is managed by PointrLabs. The technology for developers comes with an indoor map showing up-to-date content, positioning within a claimed 3m accuracy and dynamic navigation that recognises, for example, areas currently under construction, or multi-floor navigation.

The new technology is part of Gatwick’s £2.5 billion investment programme to transform the airport. Details at the link below . .

  • 29 May 2017
  • RIN

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